Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)


12 Months Ended
Sep. 30, 2018
Accounting Policies [Abstract]  

Principles of Consolidation:

The consolidated financial statements include all domestic and foreign subsidiaries in which the Company maintains an ownership interest and has operating control. Investments in certain companies over which the Company exerts significant influence, but does not control the financial and operating decisions, are accounted for as equity method investments.  Investments in certain companies over which the Company does not exert significant influence are accounted for as cost-method investments. All intercompany accounts and transactions have been eliminated.

Use of Estimates:

The preparation of financial statements in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period.  Actual results could differ from those estimates.

Cash and Cash Equivalents:

The Company considers all investments purchased with a remaining maturity of three months or less to be cash equivalents.  The carrying amount of cash and cash equivalents approximates fair value due to the short-term maturities of these instruments.

Trade Receivables and Allowance for Doubtful Accounts:

Trade receivables are carried at their estimated collectible amounts. Trade credit is generally extended on a short-term basis; thus trade receivables do not bear interest, although a finance charge may be applied to such receivables that are more than 30 days past due. The allowance for doubtful accounts is based on an evaluation of specific customer accounts for which available facts and circumstances indicate collectability may be uncertain.


Inventories are stated at the lower of cost or net realizable value with cost generally determined under the average cost method. Inventory costs include material, labor, and applicable manufacturing overhead (including depreciation) and other direct costs. Net realizable value is the estimated selling price in the ordinary course of business, less reasonably predictable costs of completion, disposal, and transportation.
Property, Plant and Equipment:

Property, plant and equipment are carried at cost.  Depreciation is computed primarily on the straight-line method over the estimated useful lives of the assets, which generally range from 10 to 45 years for buildings and 3 to 12 years for machinery and equipment.  Gains or losses from the disposition of assets are reflected in operating profit.  The cost of maintenance and repairs is charged to expense as incurred.  Renewals and betterments of a nature considered to extend the useful lives of the assets are capitalized.  Property, plant and equipment are reviewed for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of such assets may not be recoverable.  Recoverability of assets is determined by evaluating the estimated undiscounted net cash flows of the operations to which the assets relate.  An impairment loss would be recognized when the carrying amount of the assets exceeds the fair value, which is based on a discounted cash flow analysis. No such charges were recognized during the years presented.

Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets:

Intangible assets with finite useful lives are amortized over their estimated useful lives, ranging from 2 to 15 years, and are reviewed when appropriate for possible impairment, similar to property, plant and equipment.  Goodwill and intangible assets with indefinite lives are not amortized, but are tested annually for impairment, or when circumstances indicate that a possible impairment may exist.  In general, when the carrying value of these assets exceeds the implied fair value, an impairment loss must be recognized.  A significant decline in cash flows generated from these assets may result in a write-down of the carrying values of the related assets. For purposes of testing goodwill for impairment, the Company uses a combination of valuation techniques, including discounted cash flows and other market indicators. For purposes of testing indefinite-lived intangible assets, the Company generally uses a relief from royalty method.

Pension and Other Postretirement Plans:

Pension assets and liabilities are determined on an actuarial basis and are affected by the market value of plan assets, estimates of the expected return on plan assets and the discount rate used to determine the present value of benefit obligations.  Actual changes in the fair market value of plan assets and differences between the actual return on plan assets, the expected return on plan assets and changes in the selected discount rate will affect the amount of pension cost. Differences between actual and expected results or changes in the value of the obligations and plan assets are initially recognized through other comprehensive income and subsequently amortized to the Consolidated Statement of Income.


Costs that mitigate or prevent future environmental issues or extend the life or improve equipment utilized in current operations are capitalized and depreciated on a straight-line basis over the estimated useful lives of the related assets.  Costs that relate to current operations or an existing condition caused by past operations are expensed.  Environmental liabilities are recorded when the Company's obligation is probable and reasonably estimable.  Accruals for losses from environmental remediation obligations do not consider the effects of inflation, and anticipated expenditures are not discounted to their present value.

Derivatives and Hedging:

Derivatives are held as part of a formal documented hedging program.  All derivatives are held for purposes other than trading.  Matthews measures effectiveness by formally assessing, at least quarterly, the historical and probable future high correlation of changes in the fair value or future cash flows of the hedged item.  If the hedging relationship ceases to be highly effective or it becomes probable that an expected transaction will no longer occur, gains and losses on the derivative will be recorded in other income (deductions) at that time.

Changes in the fair value of derivatives designated as cash flow hedges are recorded in other comprehensive income (loss) ("OCI"), net of tax, and are reclassified to earnings in a manner consistent with the underlying hedged item.  The cash flows from derivative activities are recognized in the statement of cash flows in a manner consistent with the underlying hedged item.
Foreign Currency:

The functional currency of the Company's foreign subsidiaries is generally the local currency.  Balance sheet accounts for foreign subsidiaries are translated into U.S. dollars at exchange rates in effect at the consolidated balance sheet date.  Gains or losses that result from this process are recorded in accumulated other comprehensive income (loss).  The revenue and expense accounts of foreign subsidiaries are translated into U.S. dollars at the average exchange rates that prevailed during the period. Realized gains and losses from foreign currency transactions are presented in the Statement of Income in a consistent manner with the underlying transaction based upon the provisions of Accounting Standards Codification ("ASC") 830 "Foreign Currency Matters."

Comprehensive Income (Loss):

Comprehensive income (loss) consists of net income adjusted for changes, net of any related income tax effect, in cumulative foreign currency translation, the fair value of derivatives, unrealized investment gains and losses and remeasurement of pension and other postretirement liabilities.

Treasury Stock:

Treasury stock is carried at cost.  The cost of treasury shares sold is determined under the average cost method.

Revenue Recognition:

Revenues are generally recognized when title, ownership, and risk of loss pass to the customer, which is typically at the time of product shipment and is based on the applicable shipping terms.  The shipping terms vary across all businesses and depend on the product and customer.

Revenues from brand development and deployment services are recognized using the completed performance method, which is typically when the customer receives the final deliverable.  For arrangements with customer acceptance provisions, revenue is recognized when the customer approves the final deliverable.

For pre-need sales of memorials and vases, revenue is recognized when the memorial has been manufactured to the customer's specifications (e.g., name and birth date), title has been transferred to the customer and the memorial and vase are placed in storage for future delivery.  A liability has been recorded for the estimated costs of finishing pre-need bronze memorials and vases that have been manufactured and placed in storage prior to July 1, 2003 for future delivery.  Beginning July 1, 2003, revenue is deferred by the Company on the portion of pre-need sales attributable to the final finishing and storage of the pre-need merchandise.  Deferred revenue for final finishing is recognized at the time the pre-need merchandise is finished and shipped to the customer.  Deferred revenue related to storage is recognized on a straight-line basis over the estimated average time that pre-need merchandise is held in storage.  At September 30, 2018, the Company held 329,341 memorials and 220,901 vases in its storage facilities under the pre-need sales program.

Revenues from mausoleum construction and significant engineering projects, including certain roto-gravure projects, cremation units and marking and industrial automation projects, are recognized under the percentage-of-completion method of accounting using the cost-to-cost basis for measuring progress toward completion.  As work is performed under contracts, estimates of the costs to complete are regularly reviewed and updated.  As changes in estimates of total costs at completion on projects are identified, appropriate earnings adjustments are recorded using the cumulative catch-up method.  Provisions for estimated losses on uncompleted contracts are recorded during the period in which such losses become evident.

Shipping and Handling Fees and Costs:

All fees billed to the customer for shipping and handling are classified as a component of net revenues. All costs associated with shipping and handling are classified as a component of cost of sales or selling expense.

Research and Development Expenses:

Research and development costs are expensed as incurred and were approximately $24,984, $20,722 and $16,362 for the years ended September 30, 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively.

Stock-Based Compensation:

Stock-based compensation cost is measured at grant date, based on the fair value of the award, and is recognized as expense over the employee requisite service period.  A binomial lattice model is utilized to determine the fair value of awards that have vesting conditions based on market targets.

Income Taxes:

Deferred tax assets and liabilities are provided for the differences between the financial statement and tax bases of assets and liabilities using enacted tax rates in effect for the years in which the differences are expected to reverse.  Valuation allowances are recorded to reduce deferred tax assets when it is more likely than not that a tax benefit will not be realized.  Deferred income taxes have not been provided on certain undistributed earnings of foreign subsidiaries since they have been included as a component of the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act transition tax, and such earnings are considered to be reinvested indefinitely. 

Earnings Per Share:

Basic earnings per share is computed by dividing net income by the average number of common shares outstanding. Diluted earnings per share is computed using the treasury stock method, which assumes the issuance of common stock for all dilutive securities.